Two Wheels Better For One Way Streets

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 119 months ago
Two Wheels Better For One Way Streets
Bicycle motif

A sign of this country's creeping Torification, with Britain's top two Blues boasting their two-wheels-better philosophy at any opportunity (never mind the traffic signals)? Or merely a sensible policy that could help get more people on their bikes?

Kensington and Chelsea are to trial a scheme by which cyclists will be allowed to go the 'wrong way' down one-way streets. Natty new signs are to be introduced on six streets in the borough, advising pedal pushers that they can cut through against the flow of traffic. Mind, they'll be entirely responsible for avoiding oncoming traffic - no separate path will be provided.

Drivers of said oncoming traffic aren't too impressed. Bob Oddy, of the London Taxi Drivers Association, thundered that "convenience shouldn't come before safety". And he's not without a point: in March TfL launched a safety campaign reminding motorists to look out for cyclists. They even came up with a clever test proving how easy it is to miss things if you're not concentrating.

Yet Tony Bogdanowicz, of the London Cycling Campaign, is having none of it. The project will "reduce danger to the cyclists who are currently being forced to use major roads", he claimed.

The trial begins in the autumn and will initially take place on Holland Street, Old Court Place and Thackeray Street, with more to follow once contra-flow realignment work is complete. So if you fancy hoving your BMX into the firing line of a Land Rover (weapon of choice in K&C, dontcha know?), then you know where to go. Or you could just carry on ignoring the signals and one-way systems and do as you please. Our future PM certainly seems happy to do so.

Image courtesy of jordi.martorell under the Creative Commons Attribution license

Last Updated 05 June 2008


Well done Kensington and Chelsea! Is this the invisible hand of our new leader at work, I wonder? I am really worried about the environment and anything that encourages more cycling has to be a good thing, if only for our poor choking planet.


I'm not so sure about this... it seems like a blatant quick fix at the expense of safety, when what the city really needs are many more honest-to-goodness cycle lanes -- especially on those major roads. Adding an extra arrow to some signs is about the least investment the council could possibly put in while still claiming to be making changes.

I think this is going to do more to harm cyclist-driver relations than it will to convince people that cycling is safe, uncomplicated, and unobtrusive.


"convenience shouldn't come before safety" according to a taxi driver spokesman. Well as a London cyclist and driver I'm sick of taxis causing obstructions and hazards in the roads for the convenience of their fares. The amount of times i have been put in danger by taxis doing a u-turn or by letting passengers exit in the middle of the road tells me that cyclists are in danger whatever the direction of traffic and more cycle lanes wont help. If they are on the road, traffic will block them and if they are part of the pavement pedestrians will walk in them. More driver education and enforcement of existing traffic rules is the only way forward.